Today had me feeling some type of way… some type of melancholy. The Monday-est of all Mondays.
Tonight I crawled into bed with a glass of wine and some Faulkner, but I ended up with my laptop out, looking through photos of Scotland – of the place I called home for only half a year – and missing it something fierce. (May or may not have squeezed my eyes shut reaaaaally tight, in hopes that when I opened them I would be in my itty bitty icky flat, and I could throw on my rain coat and run down the hill to my favorite cafe for a flat white, or to ‘Spoons for a pint. It didn’t work.)
I think it hit me so hard because instead of looking through my best photos – the ones that are edited and perfectly posed – I ended up flipping through ALL of them. The bloopers made me miss it more.
Ah, what a time that was. How the sheep ran to me, embracing me in love and fluffy kisses. (Not what happened.) How the Scottish security guards LOVED seeing me climbing on the wall of Edinburgh Castle, trying to get that perfect gram even though the drop on the other side was 30-50 feet. “Tourists will be tourists,” they said good-naturedly. One may have even offered to take the photo for me. (Not what happened.) Oh how that handsome young bagpiping soldier offered to let me try to play his quaint lil instrument. (Ok fine, he’s not, strictly speaking, “alive,” so that’s not what happened either.)
Back to your regularly scheduled programming.
Awkward selfies with my Canadian bestie, pics of many a meal of “fancy ramen” in my little plastic purple bowls, photos of wild drunken Scots messing about in the quad outside my bedroom window, playing in the 1/4 inch of snow that decided to bless Glasgow that winter.
Rain-soaked bridge running photos. Rain-soaked castle hill climbing photos. Rain soaked runs back from the grocery store photos. (It rains a lot in Glasgow, ok?)
Seriously, so much rain. But look at those smiles. Aw. What a time we had.
Every happy memory comes rushing back so easily, in the blink of an eye. I don’t remember how I felt in the nights lying in my twin sized bed with the crappiest mattress, wishing I was home, wishing the noise outside my window at 2 am was my family rather than another drunken college student celebrating a rugby victory or just celebrating your average Wednesday night. I don’t spend time dwelling on the days when I legitimately thought I was going to fail my Arthurian Legends class because the professor was a… word I’m not going to write here.
Instead I remember last minute train rides to new cities and running to the pub with new friends. I spend days thinking about flat whites and empire biscuits. Or just biscuits in general (an under-appreciated food here in America. And no I’m not talking about the biscuits you douse in gravy).
It’s so easy to pine after the good things about a place, an experience, a memory, a person… anything you lose, really. It’s so easy to forget the things you didn’t like.
One thing I do remember is how afraid I was of coming home. I knew I didn’t have a lot to come back to. I wanted to see my family. I wanted to drive my car. I had a couple close friends I knew would still be there for me. But I also knew that when I stepped off the plane in Philadelphia, I would be stepping away from some friendships and relationships that had been integral parts of my life before I stepped onto another plane in Philadelphia just half a year before.
I had no idea if I would find new relationships to step into.
But here I am, 1 year and a couple months out, and I have never felt more at home in a place than I do in Lancaster, right now. 22 years old – most of those years spent right here, in good ole Lanc. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that this feels like home. I shouldn’t feel surprised that these people are home. I shouldn’t feel surprised at it all.
But I do.
Because before I left, this wasn’t home. It was just the place I was from.
I came home not knowing what I was coming back to, or why. And then my purpose found me. I found people to pour into, and people stepped in to pour into me.
Maybe it’s just chance. Or maybe someone is pulling the strings.
I’m reminded again tonight that God knows what He’s doing. That He’s most in control when I’ve given up my petty little excuse for power. That sounds simple enough, and maybe it is, but I need to keep reminding myself.
I’m reminded that when I tell Him daily my talents are His for the using, He will use them. I’m reminded that He’s ALWAYS speaking. When I can’t hear Him it’s not because He’s gone silent, but because I’ve stop listening. (Or because I’ve let my Bible sit idle by my bedside for too long.)
I’m reminded tonight that when I give Him my heart, it might get a little dented and it might be pulled in different directions, but it will not be destroyed beyond repair. I’m reminded that He cares about my desires more than I ever could. That He’s already given me the desires of my heart, and that He will continue to.
I’m reminded that every single time I’ve let anxiety and fear and doubt overcome me, He’s proven Himself – He’s come through, again, and again, and again. He didn’t have to. But He did. Because He knows my heart. He knows my heart desires Him above every other desire, but He also knows I’m easily distracted. He knows what I, specifically, need.
I’m reminded that He is good. That He helps us to gradually move on from things we need to move on from (even if they were really good things, in their season). Even when we want to hold on.
And I’m reminded that when memories come back like a whisper, sewing little seeds of discontent, of self-doubt, sewing little seeds of you’re not enough, you’re not doing big things like you used to… Why are you doing this when you could be doing that?
His voice rings out in the darkness :
I am enough.
I am more than enough, so you don’t have to be.
Friendly reminder to look around at your life. Find the good. The Father has you where you are for a reason. If you don’t think that’s true, start asking Him for revelation. Don’t stop asking.
Let me just quote the great Ferris Bueller before I hit publish: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
Love ya’ll. Thanks for reading.